Jamie Vardy at Hillsborough: Sheffield Wednesday clash could offer last chance for Leicester City legend

Somewhere in an alternate universe Jamie Vardy didn’t get released by Sheffield Wednesday and all those goals he scored were in blue and white stripes.
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It’s a story that’s been told time and time again in this city, how the Owls released a young Wednesdayite who went on to become a Premier League champion and record-breaking goalscorer at Leicester City. And how we went to long way around, via the non-league, in order to do so.

Vardy’s no stranger to scoring against teams from Sheffield, of course. The striker, who grew up worshipping players like David Hirst, has won every game that he’s featured in against city rivals, Sheffield United – scoring or assisting in all five of them. He also found the back of the net in both of his trips to Bramall Lane.

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It’s been almost a decade since he had the chance to face off against his boyhood club in a competitive fixture, though, and Wednesday night’s game between the Owls and the Foxes could offer up one last chance to fulfil what will have been a childhood dream of scoring at Hillsborough.

Vardy has played there twice with Leicester, winning in 2012 and losing in 2013, and as he approaches his 37th birthday, the end of his current contract, and the increasing likelihood that the two sides will be in different divisions next season, time is running out.

Despite his age, the Sheffielder is still his side’s top scorer this season as they sit atop the Championship table, and a brace against Watford last time out will see him head to S6 full of confidence. No doubt he’d revel at the chance to score in front of the Kop, even if it’s for the opposition.

“It meant everything to me, being a Wednesday fan,” he told BT a while ago when asked about wearing the club’s colours. “That’s all I thought I was going to be back then, I thought I was going to be a Sheffield Wednesday player. It didn't work out that way, things take their own route for a reason and it was a setback which I had to use to better myself. Playing with the shirt on even at the academy growing up, it really did feel special that you supported the club."

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In hindsight, Vardy’s career worked out for the better having left Wednesday when he did. Had he not then he maybe wouldn’t have been a Premier League champion or Golden Boot winner, he might not have played – and scored – for England or won the FA Cup.

But with everything that he’s achieved, through his incredible meteoric rise, there will no doubt be a little bit of young Jamie Vardy who’d still like to ripple the net at the stadium where he made some of his earliest footballing memories.

For Danny Röhl and his Owls ranks, one of their biggest jobs on Wednesday night will be to make sure that he doesn’t get that opportunity.